tv Today in Washington CSPAN November 29, 2012 2:00am-6:00am EST
>> absolutely right. he has right of course about the second term. given the urgency of the situation given from january the israeli elections will have taken place and the united states will be the beginning of a second term administration, if we are not going to address this and resolve this then, when on earth are we ever going to do so? so we see this is very as very important for the reelected u.s. administration and yes, he is right about the icc. that is what we are saying. we are not saying that anyone should he exempt from the icc for the long-term future. the negotiation has to succeed and everybody has to accept some things that are temporary or that are unpleasant. we have our own experience of that. many honorable members with the violent peace process. we had to do things that we were very reluctant to do but necessary to bring about a
governor chris christie of new jersey has demonstrated his brand of politics based on reality whether than wishful thinking. he embraced president obama after hurricane sandy to the dismay of some in his own party who saw his reality based actions and undermining the g.o.p. candidate. these days steve schmidt is at one of the largest political firms. since running the mccain campaign in 2008 he has been on campaigns around the world. and you saw him during the 2012 u.s. campaign. he was campaign manager for the landslide reelection of california governor in 2006. before that a top political advice sor in the white house of george w. bush.
he attended the university of delaware from 1988 to 1993. david plouffe crossed paths in schmidt in the late 1980's. he completed his political seasons degree and finned two years ago. he has completed two presidential bids. he was appointed as a senior advice sor to the president in the white house in 2011. he attended is the marks high school before serving in a wide viret of state and national political campaigns. i'm going to ask the two speakers this evening to speak and i had to decide who is going to go first and i decided to use a standard that anyone this this audience could mean and that is whoever has won the most recent presidential election gets to speak first. i think that's the fair enough thing to do so please welcome david plouffe and steve schmidt
to the university of delaware. [applause] >> thank you for joining thus evening. it's great to be back where steve and i had our interest in politics fostered and have such great memories of the university and its faculty and the community. we talked on the way over here that we wanted to keep our remarks brief so we could spend a lot of time in dialogue with you. because i'm sure you have questions about the elections that just passed and what is going to happen in the years to come. by the way, ralph, given your introduction, had we not won i'm sure you would have reminded me of the things i said that weren't true so this was much more pleasant. it takes a long time to reflect on an election and really understand what happened and
more importantly what ha means for politics going forward. i think there's been a lot of discussion of demographics and that's an important part of our country because that's changed rapidly. but that is not the core reason that the president won reelection. obviously the american people take presidential elections seriously as they should. and they needed to think about what the president was offering in terms of economic direction, foreign policy direction. had to reflect on the road we've just traveled in the last four years and as voters do, they spent a lot of time thinking about the future. so in the next four years who can i trust on the economy, on social issues and foreign policy. and we live in a country that is even pli divided politically and we have close elections. our victory in 2008 was a
landslide. it was clear this election was going to be closer, fwiven the economy and divisions in the country. with that being said, we still won electoral college, maybe not a landslide but a clear majority. our popular vote is 3% which is a healthy margin. and i think the reason we won is people understood where we had been economically. all of you have lived through the recession. this is not something that is an academic theory. everyone painfully lived through the recession. we are beginning to recover from that. the economy has created jobs over 5 fnt 5 million jobs which our economy is far too week but the electorate said i'm beginning to feel some progress. does that mean i'm satisfied? of course not. but i'm beginning to feel some progress and i think people
thought it was a risk to go back and try economic policies that led to the recession in the first place or contributed to it. i think there was a sense like on energy and environment and education that the president had a vision for where america needs to be in this new century where we've got rising competition in china and germany and india and if we're going to have an american century we cannot come in second place to those countries in technology of the future. and i think that played an important role. there was a sense that the obama vision was one that they thought better suited this moment in our country's history. and there is no question on social issues whether it's women's healthcare or immigration. there was asset of issues that for younger voters was important to think about the
kind of country and kind of president they wanted representing them. so on all those questions people wrestled carefully. i think that's why ultimately enough people in enough battleground states chose the president to continue this journey we're on. quickly in terms of demoggrafi. we don't know this for sure but we could be seeing different elections in on years and off years. the election in 2014 is going to be different than presidential lecktorts. and the comments i made were predicated on what we thought would happen in a presidential election. you had latinos turning out. the president won the cuban vote. the first time infer florida. you saw young voters actually exceeding in most states their turnout from four years ago to
the surprise of most analyst. you saw african turn out even though the excitement was four years ago, you saw a real determination there to support the president and you saw african-american rise in a lot of places. that is getting a lot of attention as it should. you have to understand electorate to understand presidential politics. but the president carried most of the key swush suburban counties t. states that are the four heaviest in white population the president won all four of them. so it may be convenient to say we drove good turnout in the latino and african-american community but it's more complex because the president won swing suburban voters and women voters all over the country.
presidential campaigns are complicated t. pursuit of 270 electoral votes is complicated. how we won 332 is complicated. it's not just one thing and we'll talk a lot about what that means for politics going forward. one thing i've learn sd you better not overlearn lessons of leck that is just happened because our country and our politics are changing so rapedly the important think now that the election is over hopefully we'll have a moment in washington where the leaders come together and on tax reform and education and immigration and fiscal policy, now that we're no longer the issue of we have a reelection, that's done. barack obama has run his last campaign and you have divided government. i think the mandate the american people was sending is work together.
focus on us not what divides you as politicians, focus on us. and i don't offer misplaced optimism often. because in washington you can get pessimistic quick. but i do have confidence there is path way on tax reform, on continued education reform, on doing some smart things around energy. and that's the test of the ment and the leaders in the senate and houses. can they come together post election. and for a period of time put your needs and the needs of the country first. and i have a great deal of confidence we'll do that. so i look forward to talking to you about the election that just happened. [applause] >> thank you for having me back. it's great to be back at the university of delaware and thank you for coming.
when we look at this election in 2012, republicans should not be diluted about the magnitude of the president's reelection victory. this was a big night for the democrats not just at a presidential level but also look across the country in the u.s. senate seats. and for my fellow republicans in the room to quote john mccain it's always darkest before it's completely black. but as we look at this election, there's a couple of things that i think are astounding to focus on. the last presidential candidate who achieved 60% of the white vote in the country was bush and he received over 400 electoral votes 24 years ago.
in the 2004 bush campaign we received 44% of the latino vote in the electorate. we were having discussions in the white house in 2005 that we were within the territory that we were able to get to majority status with latino voters in the country. and if you look at the election results where mitt romney is below 30%, you can really see the republican's party deliberate strategy to annual nies paying off. and so when we look at as a party and we look at the demographic changes in the country in the west but also give consideration to the fact that some of the fastest growing latino states are north carolina and ohio and not necessarily the southwest border states and states in the rocky mountain west. we also have to look in this
election at the fact that we have given up as republicans five u.s. senate seats in two election cycles because the nominees in those seats were manifestly unqualified to serve in the united states senate from an intellect you'll level and knowledge level and social extreme level and their candda sis were rejected not just by moderate swing voters but by republican voters as well. if you look at the functional majority of democrats in the senate. when you nominate people like murdock in indiana, mr. i'm not a witch o'donnell. ken bucken in cal colorado.
it's impossible to advance a conservative agenda in the country because to do that you need to be able to win elections. let's talk about this idea of conservism tonight a bit. because conserve vative for too many voters in this country has become si no, ma'am mouse with loonnyness over the last couple of election cycles and we have a problem in the republican party that the democrats had a deal with in the 1970's and 1980's when our policy makers, our elected political leaders were scared to death to stand up to the special interest groups in the party. and chiefly in the republican party, that's the conservative entertainment complex. conservatism is a serious governing philosophy that has
served the country well over its history. conservatism is not a cult of personality where we define who is and who is not a conservative over their fidelity to outrageous statement that is rush limbaugh makes. the mark of a true conservative isn't fidelity to rush limbaugh stigmatizing bullying and calling that young laid a slop. it's stame for our elected officials in the party to stand up to it and say enough is enough. and until we change the tone, we're going to have a very difficult time even getting to first base with voters. it latinos don't think you as a party or the elected leadership of the party like you very much then you're not going to hear your message on economic growth or your message on education refomplet they'll stop at the place where they don't like us
very much so i won't thereon them. part of the problem we have is if you were to play a word association game with our elected leaders in the congress and you were to say latino the answer would be illegal immigrant as opposed to lieutenant colonel or doctor or silver star winner or teacher or mayor or governor. and so until the republican party can begin to talk to this community through a prism of respect, understand that the contributions that they make make the country a stronger place, that the strength of our country has always been in at least part because of our diversity and the strength of immigrants, we're going to have a really difficult time in this election. i've been married for 12 years and outside of my marriage in a country of 330 million people, i have no idea how any other american useles birth control
with the acception of rick santorum. and i don't know why he wants to talk about it or why he thinks it's a national security issue and why the republican party is doubling down on issues like this. the prolife position is a serious moral position and i think the fact that on this issue the country is closely divided and there is no toveed suggest that being prolife is a disqualifier to being elected president of the united states. but surely we must understand the difference that being prolife doesn't default you into anti-contraception and women in this country particularly young women don't want to here contraception leckchures from white over 50,. we are the limited government
party. and we see too often from the leadership in washington a version of big government conservatism where the government is peering through the window into matters of sexual orientation, into life style choices and issues like continue tra acception. so there is an intellectle disdense when people are talking about tyranny and we stand on the precipice of a thousand years of darkness but at the same time we're voting for people in state legitimate chures who are mandating trance vaginal probes for illegal procedure. it doesn't make sense and it's being rejected and will continue to be rejected across the country. if you look at the extreme social agenda put forward by republican candidates, i ask you how do we possible win in a state like colorado that's
legalizing marijuana when our candidates are talking about legitimate rape? can't be done. so we have a lot of soul searching to do as a political party on this issue, on these issues. we also have to understand as republicans when we think about the middle class in the country. what was our offering in this election to the middle class voter? wage stagnation in the middle class is a real issue. declining opportunities in the middle class are a real issue. what is our answer to it? certainly we're not going to create economic growth on a platform of we're going to get rid of medicare for everyone under 55 years old. our messages stick no carat. we don't have a forward vision of economic growth, how to
create it or sustain it that's in the interest of the middle class and we paid a tremendous penalty for that over the course of this election. so the republican party as a demographic problem. it has a message problem. it has a policy problem which and then in the expect cushion of the campaigns it has a technology program. the obama campaign in 2012 was ten light years ahead from a technology perspective being tible identify voters, target voters, turn out voters. and republican party through this defeat is going to need to go through a cycle of invasion to catch up and pass the democrats in our ability to do that over the next couple of years. what i would say lastly is when you look at the republican party today on issues from gay
marriage to immigration to education reform, republicans have always thriveed. we have embraced our small government, limited government and the principles of fed raism which have endured and served the country well for over two centuries. and as we look ahead into the next election, i think that it's important for us to have some optimism as republicans that we will have a class of serious governing officials who have solved real problems and have reality based solutions to issues of healthcare reform or education reform or how to grow the economy that are consistent with the actual solutions to problems that we face today. so our ability to go and communicate to all manner of
voters in this election tooned deliver them our policy is conditional or our ability to reach them through the prism of mutual respect, tolerance and understanding. and the more intolerance that is imnated out from some of the talking heads in the republican party, the more we will continue to be shut off and shut down and not even be in a position to make a sale to voters out in the electorate. so after a defeat like this, there is always a period of soul searching and it may be that republicans have to lose another election or two in order to understand that the party has to meet voters where they are and not the other way around. and the democrats have struggled with this in the past and ultimately bill clinton was able to rebrand and change the party's image and the republican party remains to be
seen who our bill clinton will be. but at the current trajectory we're going to have a difficult time winning presidential elections for the future absent an ability to communicate in a more effective way with these groups. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you both very much and i want to thank both of you to come tonight. all of us in delaware are appreciative of your presence here. >> i know we've got to talk about the future but there are a few things we've got to get out in the public about the election. i want to ask each of you about whether there were oh
s---moments in the course of the campaign. you were watching the first debate. how many minutes into that debate did it take you to threals this was an oh s moment? >> i figured you would go there ralph. i was talking to some of the students and for us in the barack obama experience we always have our moments of near death. so in a way this election was going so smoothly it would have been unusual if we landed the plane with no turbulence. so this was an inevitable thing to happen. i think the history of presidential incumbents. if you look at president bush's first debate --
>> an inspiring performance. >> it was an unmitigated disaster. even preck's -- president clinton's first debate wasn't a success. he needed a second debate to stabilize. obviously ronl reagan won one debate in 1980. we don't want to continue that stat in history. it's not like we were naive about the challenge. for a lot of reasons not all of them i can be candid about tonight. we did not execute. myself and others could have done a better job and the president himself had an off night. didn't make any mistakes by the way. it's not like we had one glaring mistake but not a solid performance. mitt romney gave a solid
performance. you look in 1994 he was a strong debater. he rescued his candidacy in 201. we knew this was going to be a strength of governor romney and particularly after the 47% debocle just showing up on the stage and not drooling he was going to come out strengened. he was polling in some battleground states at 42, 43, 44. an impossibility. mitt romney was going to get 67, 68, 69 in states like virginia, ohio and florida. we knew he was going to come out of the debate with some strength. we were not going to win the first debate. he was the only person on stage to have something to gain out of the first debate. we had a poor performance and he had a strong one. we said this publicly and most
people didn't believe us at the time. the race did not fundamentally change. our support level stayed relatively constant. all that happened it was gains that he would have made over october. he gained it all of a sudden. he accelerated those gains. it excited the republican base and helped them raise money. we wouldn't have designed it this way but the structure of the race never changed. and in the nine battleground states that would decide the presidency we identified two years ago. we have a much better chance in getting to a win than governor romney d. obviously the 47% on the other hand was something the republicans did not put on a terrific convention this time. i thought the mccain convention
put on a better convention four years. so the 47% was an oh s on the other hand. >> despite the fact you anticipated the polling results to continue in that direction any way, maybe it all happened at once, did you have to make any sharp readjustments or did you say at that moment don't worry about it it's okay, we're fine? >> we had to ensure we didn't have another first debate so that was mission number one although that was clear during the debate. >> the president knew that right? >> yeah there wasn't gazing about was it as bad as everybody thought. it was clear. we knew what twode do. we had to prepare for a romney that was elastic. more elastic than we envisioned. and debates are not the
president's strength. he did well three years ago but didn't dominate. in that campaign we lost more than we won. you have certain events you're strong in. the decathlon say the high jump was not the one we were going to win, we just had to get enough point. we won the second debate and dominated the third debate. and the way voters look at the debates is as a package and by the end they said i think the president availed. after the first debate they were very curious about whether this was just an off night or whether something more fundamental was happening here and within the first five minutes of the second debate voters said okay he's bafpblgt and that was the bar we had to cross. it was challenging because for two weeks we were the game that couldn't shoot straight and romney had all the momentum and
a lot of people thought he was on his way to the presidency. >> the 47% tape and you were not in the campaign strategy room at the moment but at what point when you first heard that tape come out, what was your immediate reaction and i would have loved to be a fly on your blackberry watching the e-mails. >> he said what, what did he say. it's a remarkable statement when you think about it and of course when you make a misstatement like that and there are categories of -- >> a misstatement. >> i'll come back to that. we tend to call unfortunate statements in a campaign misstatements and the romney campaign went out to tried to characterize it as a misstatement. when you listen you understand that it was given with fears conviction and absolutely
artuke cue lat and if you get a room full of republicans and you're on your second bottle of wine that's where the conversation goes. it's not the first time i've heard it. and it's so fundamentally untrue. >> it wasn't a blood pressurer. >> no i'm saying he meant it. that this is a prt of a modern mithology or perception of the country from an increasingly republican twhoorled through the conservative entertainment complex where this is echoed all the time is what republicans are saying to each other. and it was a statement that so fundamentally demonstrated a misunderstanding of the country. because first off if you look at that 47% it's a bad idea if you're running for president of the united states to attack 47%
of the country. that's a top line matter. but secondly there is a name for a lot of that 47% and it's republicans. and the reason that that 47% doesn't pay federal income taxes for example is because of republican policies like the earned income tax credit. and you were talking about not only a lot of retirees, you're talking about the entire enlisted corp, the united states military and it was an awful statement. and i think he paid a tremendous price for it. it just as you conceive of a presidential campaign you don't want to push people out in a way. it's not a zero sum game where in order to get 50 plus 1 we're going to stigmatize 47%. politics is a game of addition.
this is what david and the obama campaign understood so brilliantly is how do we assemble a coalition of voters to get a majority of the vote? and i do think if you look at that coalition that's been assembled i suspect it will be enduring for some time in the way the reagan coalition was and the obama coalition will be. but it was a bad moment for the romney campaign in this election. >> david mentioned in his opening remarks 47%. it was co-incidentle i think that president obama last 47% and you said that the 47% mr. romney was refering to was republicans. that was coins dental? >> what it demonstrated is a fundamental misunderstanding of the country he wanted to lead. that's what that statement showed. and a lot of those 47%.
what was he saying in the statement? what he was saying is there is 47% of the country i got to write those people off because they don't pay federal income tax. and because they don't pay their a bunch of takers. you in this room, you're the makers, you're being victimized by the takers and there is nothing i can do about those takers so forget about it. i think it was a disaster. and a lot of the people in that 47% are in fact the base of the republican party. >> david. >> this is not because we're having a blue hand love in. if the republican party were to listen to half of what steve said in his opening comments they would rehabilitate themselves quickly. i think there is going to be a
civil war between the view of people like steve and the view of some on the hard right. and i thought up here i'm not going to say a challenging thing about governor romney or pour snalt any wounds. but a few hours ago governor romney did a conference call to thank some of his donors. and he said that the reason he lost was that the president had given gifts, his word gifts to young people in the form of student loans and student loan repayment process. gifts to the latino policy by saying dream act kids would not be deported over the coming years. gifts of healthcare. so that says fundamental misreading about what happened. i'll pour more salt in the
wound. paul ryan said the reason we won is because we did tpwhell you shallen areas. we won his hometown by 24 points and he lost it by ten and it's not an you shallen area. so it's disturbing within eighty days there is that think about that gift to young people, latinos. gifts of contraception to women. so if that's your diagnosis, and it actually has eerie echoes of the 47%. so to the think of soul searching. governor romney is going off the stage. others who are going to be facing voters in 2014 and 2016 are going to be most prominent in deciding a direction. i think that would be concerning to anybody in the republican party is thinking how do we get more square with the country as it exists today.
>> i think technology played an interesting role in both of those moments and perhaps others in the campaign. i'd love to hear you talk about this for a moment. for example, in a previous era the 47% tape might never have been made or might have only been an audio taped and leaked to the "new york times" or "washington post" or some other newspaper and excerpts would have been published and there would have been questions about what was on the tape and was it out of context and so on. so i'd love you to comment on the role that the ability to make and immediately infin fin nitly distribute these moments has had on the campaign and like wise on the debate, on the first debate moment, i know my students were in a little faith book bubble that night
commenting on the debate and it was pretty instant people realized there is something going on here and it was decrubte immediately and an interpretation of what was happening to the president was going out there right away. i don't want to frame this too much for you but to what ability do you think the ability to capture and distribute instantly these moment that is might be less important in a campaign have had in this election or do you think it's been the same thing for a long time and nothing new here? >> i guess it's outside of the campaign's control. all of this happens or gancli. it's no longer information flows top down. it is surround and it is bottom up and there is no private space anymore. so the time honor tradition in politics of going to one group and saying one thing and to another group and saying
something different you can't do anymore. so when you try to do it you'll be caught and exposed and your character will be revealed and in a lot of instances it will have a negative consequence. but for sure when you look at the campaigns and what goes on, the campaigns to a fundamental degree have lost control of the ability to control the message and to control the dialogue. everybody with a facebook page, everybody with a twitter account has an tooblet weigh in and shape the nartives and the story. so the ability to navigate that raging river so to speak and go with the flow is an important aspect of a presidential campaign. >> and you said you thought the republicans were ten night years away? >> i think on the data, the turnout operations, of course the republican software crashed on election day.
i guarantee you -- how many engineers did you have working on the campaign? >> dozens. >> dozens. we have a bunch of guys in the basement of the r.n.c. in washington and so we need to really -- where the republicans should start right now is a top to bottom review of what happened. let's do a full scale audit and understand what the obama campaign did. what is disturbing about romney and ryan's comments is the degree to which they will be repeated inside the conservative media because it didn't happen. we lost the election, that's over. it's about the next election now. so you want to start with an honest appraisal of what happened in this election. who parts of their coalition are we able to pick off. who can we reach whand
messaging can we use to reach them? how do we reach them? so you want to have a top to bottom review of what happened. you want to look at the technology they used to turn out the vote and say not only do twopet equal that in four years but surpass it. but if you i did lewd yourself into believing that as rmny and ryan said the election was determined for the reasons they said you don't have the tooblet do that. so when you should be at this low moment taking your first steps to building a team to win the next election we're still going in the wrong direction and that's the bad side of it. >> video is king so it used to be not too long in politics if there was a front page story in the "new york times." this is how white water and water gait started it was an investigative story that it would drive the debate and
coverage. if it doesn't have a video component it doesn't go anywhere because it doesn't get on news 24 hours a day and not shared and posted on facebook. so what made the 47% thing so powerful was there was a video component. and the best ads we ran in the campaign that were competitive some might say negative were one that is used governor romney's own words because there is no spin on the ball. when he talked about the 47% they were his own words, they weren't our interpretation or announcer trying to cast him in negative light. the other thing about technology, in 2008, i think we had good data and a good sense of who the electorate was and used the internet well and e-mail well. the world has complaininged light years since 2008.
so much of the campaign had to be done on social network because people spend most of their non-work time there. this year we'd send a list and say ralph make sure you call your friends in battleground states and tell them to vote. this time some of you probably got these message fuss had a friend in ohio or virginia you got a message saying check in with them and make sure they vote. >> how did you know they had a flend ohio on facebook? >> we just did. it was a big deal. my wife called me and said i just got a message and i'm supposed to ask your sister who lives in ohio if she voted. i kept saying we're going to be fine we've got this. that was another piece of evidence we knew what we were
doing. a twitter consensus emerges immediate lifment in both the media their consensus emerges about who is doing well or bad, who maid a mistake, who didn't. and that has to be understood about modern politics. an event that takes an hour and a half, whether it's a convention or debate, people are not going to look at it holistically. there is going to be a consensus that emerges right away. within ten minutes t of the first debate we knew it wasn't going well but the referees decided mitt romney was having a good night and we were having a bad night. that's one of the big challenges, they thought they were going to win and part of it was because they were living in an alternative universe. but part of it their
engineering was fundamentally off. they thought it was going to be like 2010 in it's composition than 2008. if that's what you thauths then you would be confident because if the election happened amongs off year voters we would have had a difficult time winning. our campaign from 2008 to 2012 had changed in fundamental ways. facebook is the dominant way people want to engage in politics. e-mail is becoming a fos liesed thing for a lot of people. so you really have to adapt. and the thing i'm sure of between 2012 and 2016 there is going to be huge progression in terms of technology. the campaigns that take advantage of it are going to be very much advantaged. >> i want to get to questions if from our audience.
i want to ask you to define something you've talked about. steve called it the conservative entertainment complex and you just called it the alternative universe. could you just briefly, what are you talking about here. what do you mean by an alternative universe? how would people in this room know they were living in an alternative universe? how would they be aware of that? >> it's not unique to this election or republican party. in 2004 many democrats believed he had a device on his shoulder so he would be given instructions during the debate. it's snanty. i think in our politics today both parties want to construct an image of their opponent that is not grounded in reality. so the alternative universe. there are two.
one is the romney campaign had an unrealistic view of what the electorate was going to be and that was one of the reasons they lost. certainly one of the reasons they went in the election confident. that wasn't an act. they thought they were going to win. but there is this view of barack obama. if you read and watch the conservative entertainment complex how could this guy get re-elected because we're socialist and week on terism and we're not honest and that's not how most of america cease the president. even those that voted against us, most of them don't see us that way. so that is the problem. i think it's an underestimating of your opponent's strength and the reality of how people view them. and there was a ridicule that i think -- i don't fully understand the impact it played in the election but i know it played a deep impact.
and listen, as i said, our party has gone through that before which was a disbelief that president bush could be re-elected in 2004. people saw it differently. >> i think there are a number of legitimate policy criticisms of president obama. and there are issue that is he's advanced in the country that i just disagree with. however, if you go back to mitt romney's book, what was the title. no apology. inferring that the president runs around the world apologizing for america. not true. that never happened. the birther nonsense t. attempts to delegitimate mies the president that he wasn't born in hawaii, that he is on alien imposter in the oval office, the conspiracy began 20
years ago. all of this deranged nonsense had a terrible impact not on the president, but on republicans. for anybody out there that think that is mitt romney running around with donald trump was anything but good for barack obama. they ought to get out to colorado and start smoking it. it has been for four years this utter and complete nonsense about the president spewing forth that. everyone is entitled to their own opinions but not their own facts. now we can have alternate factual realities. to the great disservice of the country as a whole but in the
case of this election it impacted in a negative way i think on republicans. we would have been much better off running against the ream president obama as opposed to the sinister pretend president obama. and the total lack of credibility with some of this stuff is repel lant to the middle of the electorate. and when you look at the demographics who is rush limbaugh talking to, white, 65 plus and rural. so you have these talk radio host making millions and millions of dollars a year driving a message of complete and total nonsense into the electorate, a lot of it poisten. mark le vin number three radio talk show host. a woman called up his radio
show and had some descending viewpoint and he asked her if she had a gun and he said get it out and put a bullet in it and blow your brains out. ronl reagan would have been apalled by that if it happened. so you have this terrible tone. you have this actually factly baseless stuff that is spewing out and it has the impact which you have seen with these succession petition that is are being filed or the people that are all over the conservative blog sphere talking about it's the end of the republic is out of proportion response and i think that's how it manifest itself. >> we're going to your questions. let's go for a student question first.
>> i enjoy watching people like you and people like you make me understand the republican party to a degree. i admit i'm a nate tive california person and i didn't get it. how can we have this dialogue without screaming at each other. >> can we talk to each other and not scream at one another? >> i hope so. i think when you look at our politics and look at some of the dysfunction in washington and now we have the fiscal cliff issue that is are fwfer congress and i think it's a real open question about whether we're going to have a politically induced recession. we're 40, 50 days away. you see a lot of turbulence in the markets over the next
months but this is a political crisis that is going to be bring about an economic crisis if it doesn't get solved. but for the entire history of the country people do profoundly disagree with each other, have been and sometimes don't like each other very much have been able to sit across from each other and do the business of the american people. and that's what the moment requires now. on the question of screaming at each other we should understand that there are tremendous market incentives for people to go on tv and attack each other and insult each other verbally and you make a lot of money doing that. for the most part, moderate reasonable voices aren't rewarded with media platforms in the country anymore. and you see a tone and i think that this is a larger cultural issue. it manifests itself in politics but i don't think politics
drives it. on the facebook on the comments on the chat rooms anyone who has any level of public profile who says anything, right, left, center the victory all that is delivered to you electronically anonymously is quite incredible. so my view of it is that one of the things we've stopped doing in this country at an educational level in our elementary schools, in our hools is we've stopped teaching civics and teaching civics doesn't mean teaching what it means to be a democrat or republican. it's what it means to be a republican and that both parties are two of the great institutions the party has and that the competition of idea that exist between the parties when it's working the right way to advance the country forward is a healthy and important part of our life.
but ronald reagan talked about in this country we don't have political enmist, we have political opponents. i think we need to understand even to people we disagree with that as americans we are all bound together and we have much more in common with each other than our differences no matter how profound they may be on the ideological spectrum. >> [applause] >> question from a northern student. >> in this election the most amount of money was spent in campaign ads and yet the turnout was lower than it was in 2008. that seems count intutetive. can we expect lower turnout with greater spending on
campaigns. >> the campaign was the most expensive and yet produced lower turnout. is there a connection between the amount of money spent on television ads or is there a connection between the content and turnout or no connection at all? >> there are still millions of votes to be counted. so the expectation when all the votes are counted will have the same turnout in 2008. the presidential race is a bunch of governor states. in nine states we ran a campaign n 41 states we didn't. in 41 states we will have higher turn out. where the candidates were on the ground and volunteers knocking on doors >> i think that is a good thing. the people in ohio, virginia,
florida, nevada -- they took this election enormously seriously, understood the unique role they had to play. voters in battleground states understand they have a unique role a lot of us the citizens united to enjoy because they are not and state that will determine the president. >> the super pac's dynamic this time was obviously new and unprecedented. you had senate candidates -- sherrod brown in ohio had $40 million spent against him by super pac's. we had in the last week of our campaign $100 million spent against the president. that is more than the mccain campaign spent in its entirety. remarkable thing. a lot of senate candidates still one. but in house races it had an impact. barack obama, sherrod brown, governors -- they have
definition. the spending is a little less nefarious. it's still tough to deal with, but you are not somebody who is now and then somebody drops $4 million on your head will have an impact. we have never seen spending like this. there is a term in politics called gross rating points, the amount of television you buy. 1000 points means the average viewer sees the ad 10 times. that is the standard. there were markers were -- markets baran at 3000 or 4000 gross rating points. -- ifpublican super pac's he went to cincinnati or las vegas, i spent a lot of nights in hotels -- he would turn on the television. it was wall-to-wall political ads. in many of those markets uc two no. 3 republican ads for every democrat ad. what we do about this? a huge question for our country.
there are strong differences on this. we had one individual spend $100 million in the presidential campaign. think about that. one person spend $100 million to try to effect to the next president was. i think that will only continue. there will be a lot of soul- searching on the republican side -- we had all this money and did not produce much. that does not mean it will not produce results in future elections. i do not think it is going away. but this is a big question for democracy. in 2016, the democrats and republicans were thinking about running for president -- unless something changes, the first question will be not how many volunteers can you put together in iowa, was my economic plan, but do i have a super pac been put together? without that you will not survive. mitt romney won his nomination -- if he had not had a super pac which would have been running
against rick santorum. if your hillary clinton or andrew cuomo, not saying these people are running, but jeb bush, marco rubio, pick your candidate -- it is not about could we win iowa, could we build a grass-roots campaign? what is your platform? not saying this candidates will not have to do that, but if you do not have a super pac game that is huge you are not going to be able to win your party nomination. that is it really disturbing trend. >> in any given competitive congressional campaign in the country the candidate committee, the actual campaign of the guy running for office or the woman running for office, has the smallest voice in the race with regard to the outside groups. it is increasingly true in senate races. it is increasingly true even in the presidential race. a brief follow up to that -- to talk about the senate and
congressional and presidential races. is this kind of technique that was owned and endorsed by the supreme court and so on in this election, presidential election, going to have any effect on issue campaigns as well? are we going to find super pac's that will influence the outcome of legislation or tax code reform or you name it, what ever the issue is? or is this strictly a candidate- driven phenomenon? >> i do not know. i think it will probably be -- somebody can write a $20 million check on every issue they choose. that is the world we are living in. they can write a check for an issue campaign. they can write a check to bribe -- tried to buy a governor's race. bacon ready check to try to control congress. the poisonous than for our country. in mitt romney's campaign, the central actor was not the romney campaign but the super pac's.
in our campaign it was the obama campaign. we may be the last presidential campaign to be able to say that. >> request and from a student? >> given how unpopular the super pac's are, is there any possibility they might be able to produce some kind of way of stopping money in the future sunday? >> given how unpopular the super pac's are -- i am not sure about that promise, you can talk about that, is there any way to stop them? >> i think we had a 30-year campaign finance regime in the country that has tried to characterize political money into categories. some of the political money is good money, some of the political money is that money, regulations -- that affected all the campaign finance laws. the citizens united decision was totally predictable as a response to mccain-fine gold.
despite my working for john mccain, who had a campaign finance reform position i always thought was blazingly unconstitutional -- we have weakened the political parties and weaken the candidate committees. the political parties have been moderating influences in american politics -- the political parties goal is to assemble a majority, not to advance an ideology. the advancement of an ideology by either party is secondary, is a function of the majority. now, with all the super pac money there is increasingly ideological money, increasing the enforcement money. reagan talked about the fact that if you are with me 80% of the time you are not my political opponent, you are my political ally. in a super pac world where you have a apostate republican or an apostate democrats on an issue, you will see the enforcement of ideological discipline through
the use of the super pac in a primary on either the left or the right. it has the fact, i think, of polarizing the electorate of an increasingly partisan, increasingly ideological way. because we have the first amendment and because the first amendment with regard to political money in speeches has been interpreted the way it has, the only way to do business is to allow maximum contributions by anyone to a campaign committee, but it has got to go to the campaign committee and has to be disclosed. the amounts of money that is flowing to the outside groups is not only a massive recipe for corruption, on an epic scale, think about what david said -- a single individual, but that individual or other individuals, is totally undisclosed, $50 million, $100 million in a presidential campaign.
what do you want for $100 million? surely you want something. you can dress it up as i just love my country and this --but it seems to me that what you want to do is put the accountability in the campaign's, and you want to have a regime of instant disclosure. i do not know how else to think about fixing it. but it is an enormous problem. >> considering the candidates and the members of congress to benefit from the system are the ones that would have to impose any changes, what you think of the chances of refining any of this? >> there is only a select number of options. obviously, you could have the supreme court review citizens united, but citizens united is on the part of the issue. you could have more instantaneous disclosure, you did have a constitutional amendment process. none of them are easy.
what you have seen is both republican and democratic members of congress in the wake of all the super pac -- republicans in particular favorite on the assets are having second thoughts. it is the son control will be stuck there that is just going across the political landscape -- and this uncontrollable beast out there going across the political landscape. it is because they have an agenda. steve is right. the people most, but that are people who do not just stick to the party line -- the people who are most harmed by that are the people who do not stick to the party line. think about what that means to people -- the only way to make progress on issues, whether it is immigration, fiscal issues, taxes, is people on both parties have been willing to step back a little bit and take heed. if you have the super pac's coming in and and and your political career -- some will still take that step but it will give people pause.
there is legislative, there is legal, constitutional amendment, but it is a big concern. for a lot people, candidates want to be in control their own to the extent they can. the fact they are becoming secondary actors in both campaign -- is making people increasingly uncomfortable. >> think that athletes sponsors tips -- maybe they can wear t- shirts, like newt gingrich, sponsored by sheldon adelson. >> like a european soccer jersey. [laughter] >> question from a non student? >> i would like to hear your opinion of grover norquist and the no-tax pledge. >> a question for steve schmidt -- what is your opinion of the grover norquist no-tax pledge? >> on the issue of taxes, it is true that we are at a historic
low of revenue to g.d.p.. it has to come up. because a country with $16 trillion in debt with republicans -- which republicans and democrats are responsible for has to be fixed. we have to get on to a sustainable economic path. barry goldwater said tax cuts yes, the deficit reduction first. you have to baby bells. d. -- pay the bills. in your personal and public life -- you want to have a prescription drug benefits under medicare, that is great, you have to pay for it. you once two wars? you have to pay for them, too. we should understand something about the republican party over the last and years. it has been a big spending party
-- it just does not want to pay for any of the spending. a reset of traditional conservatism requires that we be reality-based on the fiscal condition of the country and understand that the years of profligacy now require increased revenue. the notion that we have hundreds of members of congress bound by a pledge to grover norquist as opposed to their oath of office to the constitution -- [applause] is unsettling. we should understand, there is not symmetry between the parties on this question. there is no grover norquist equivalent in the democratic party on this question. it is encouraging to hear speaker banner and republicans talk about the -- speaker boehner and republicans talk
about the need to increase revenues. my personal opinion, which is why i am a republican in part, a 40% federal tax rate at the top rate is an awful lot of money to take out of anybody's paycheck. i do not care how much money you are making. i want to seek competitive, flattered, broader tax system. i believed that the purpose of the tax code as a republican is not to create a quality, is not to decide who gets what share of an ever shrinking pie -- is to collect the revenues sufficient to operate the government. we should do it in the most of -- the efficient way possible. clearly, when you look at the fiscal condition, the consequences of going over the fiscal cliff -- republicans are going to have to abrogate that pledge. it is not conservatism bound to
35% tax rate. that is not one of the and mutable principles of american conservatism. we want taxes to be as low as they can possibly be while running a government that is not bankrupt and in structural deficit for as far as the eye can see. you will have to see republican leaders step up here and meet the president's somewhere in the middle on this to get the country's fiscal path on a path to solvency so we can start to have economic growth again in the country. >> do you want to comment a little bit about what you expect from the next six weeks? not even six weeks? however many weeks it is now between -- between now and the start of this booklet. working in the white house limits what you can say, but how you see his plan at between now and january? >> steve is exactly right, all the you are seeing a very concerted members of the house dig in on a no revenues. it is good to see many
republicans saying yes. i cannot get into a lot of details -- i think it is unrealistic to expect next week we will get an entire fiscal package button that. the president has been clear -- we are not signing an extension of the bush tax cuts for wealthy. [applause] but we do want to extend them for -- everybody up to two under to give thousand dollars. 98% of americans will get no tax increase. even if you make $500,000, the first 200 to $8,000 to get a tax cut. we think of the devastating -- first $250,000 will get a tax cut. some would try to suggest the fiscal cliff is not a big economic problem. it is. it would be deeply irresponsible, as steve said, to create a recession through lack of political action.
the immediate question -- we want to extend them for most people. but we also want to do is engage in tax reform that would ultimately produce lower rates even potentially for the wealthy. something the president called for in the campaign -- making the tax code simpler and clearing out a lot of loopholes. there is a certain amount of revenue you will have to get to put us on the right physical path. there is a number that roughly as agreed to that any bowles- simpson, and the fiscal experts said you had to get to. the expiry of the bush tax is not the end of the story. we have to engage in a comprehensive tax reform. we need to engage an entitlement reform. medicare, medicaid, the chief drivers of our president -- deficit. we made a lot of progress, but there is still spending we have to cut. the big bottleneck is
republicans in congress on revenue and how much they're willing to come from. democrats will also have to step up and do some tough things. the notion that somehow these deficits and our debt are not a threat to our national security and economic future is something i cannot -- disagree with more strongly, as does the president. there are commentators on the left that suggest that -- we should not deal with it at all. we have to deal with it. think about the damage -- let's say we could reach an agreement. i happen to believe, i am not an economist by training, but we have been around the south to understand -- that would be a great driver for our economy. we are over performing the rest of the world right now. if we can actually -- for the business community and the american people say we have our
fiscal house in order for a 20 period and will still be able to invest in education and technology and research -- this will create the conditions for our growth to be stronger. this is going to get harry. these are big stakes -- the debt ceiling is concern to everyone. it is more amorphous for the average person -- this means if congress does not act, everybody in the country will pay more taxes. think about that -- $2,000 of the pockets of most americans, what that will do to consumption, confidence and small businesses -- this could not be more serious. i remain confident because the stakes are so high. we have a firm deadline. we will make some progress. i think what we need to do -- let's go for the big deal, let's go for something that we can say for a 10-20 year period, our country is on the way to sustainable fiscal path. the on the way it gets there is
for republicans to step back and get mercilessly criticized by grover norquist, and democrats will have to do some things on entitlements that would be criticized by the left. --d -- we just want to argue that is paralysis. that is clearly not the american people on the right now. they need leadership. we only have about six weeks to demonstrate that. but we have confidence. >> a suisun question? > -- a student's question? >> as a democratic daughter of two republicans, one of which got her bachelor's from the university of delaware and is now a very successful -- how can mr. schmidt saw me on the republican fiscal policy is that -- sell me on the policies the republicans put forward in a way
that i can see them as tangible and relatable to what i am going to do as this next generation that is going to accumulate this kind of deficit problem that you have spoken about? >> i am going to shortcut -- and abbreviate the question. a democratic daughter of two republicans -- how can yield sell her on the republican proposal for solving the debt? >> my son in first grade came hollen and announced that president obama had won his class election unanimously. [laughter] that he was a democrat. [laughter] he told me that with grape jelly covering his face. i said, it is ok to be a
democrat but you must not eat like one. [laughter] [no audio] [applause] [applause] but look, for republicans, one of the things that was curious about the election with mitt romney -- as someone who is outside of washington, pool had no ownership of any of the congressional republican dysfunction from the delayed congress at all over the last 10 years -- his hands were absolutely pure on spending. he had the ability, i think, to rebuke those republican -- the republican spending profligacy and democratic spending profligacy. he was only credible in offering a criticism of spending under the administration if he was able to burst -- first talk about republican spending in the
area, that we were going in a new direction. i think that a -- i think the republicans confused the word oversight and regulation. sometimes we need regulation. sometimes we do not need regulation. but we always need oversight. on wall street, for big companies -- he wanted watchdog watching everybody. as reagan used to say, trust but verify. i do not care what industry were in. believing that a lower -- lower taxes are possible, less regulation as possible, to do everything we can to help entrepreneurs, help small businesses, help the job creators create jobs and believe that the private sector creates wealth, not government. the government does have a role in interacting with business and making investment.
they certainly do. you look at countries in europe, like germany, where there are effective partnerships between government and industry -- i am not against that. but we should be able to deliver a message from the middle class of this country that our policy is will be credible, that our policies will lead to economic growth, and that economic growth in the middle-class -- was are ready to deal with the fact that you have real wage declines in the middle class over the last 20 years? it is a real problem, and we have had anemic solutions as republicans for it. we want to go back to first principles on some of this up and come up with an agenda, come up with a platform that is an economic growth platform, but for every young person in this room, to david's point -- the debt that this country has is
going to land squarely on you, and is going to have a profoundly negative effect with regard to your opportunity and how the economy will grow if we do not get it under control. one of the verdicts of the electorate in this election is that the middle-class, where republicans have traditionally done well, did not do very well in this election. a bunch of reasons for that, but we need to go back to the drawing board, under the principles of limited government. at what is an economic growth strategy that is marketable to the american people, that speaks to their interests? >> we will take a question from a non-student. this will be the last question. >> i do not know -- to me, it
looks like a hurricane sandy did play a part in the outcome. governor christie was an ardent supporter of romney to start with -- after the hurricane, it sounded like he was leaning toward obama. my question to you, did it play a part in the outcome? >> did governor christie's embrace of president obama on the tarmac in new jersey after hurricane sandy play a role in the outcome in this election? i would like to hear david answer first. >> undeniably not. did somebody turn out the vote for the president in colorado
who was not going to turn out the vote? did people switch their views in the closing days? no, we have the best data at -- any campaign has ever had. the race did not change. pre-sandy or post-sandy. there was a set of voters who were yet to make the decision, and they allocated the way we thought they were going to. sandy was not a driver. number two, you could say it dominated the news appropriately for two or three days. the romney campaign had a hard time punching through that. that may be one tactical thing. the thing -- the notion that somehow governor christie was getting criticism. this is what leaders do. any governor, democratic or republican, and any president, democrat or republican, who would have -- would not have done the same thing ought not to hold office. people need help, that is what
we do with the country. it says something about our political situation that a democratic president and republican governor been civil to each other and figuring out how to work together is news. it is a remarkable thing. [applause] but i think that there is a lot -- is a valid question. i'm not trying to say the question is not valid. you did see some in the republican party in the romney campaign stop, this is because the sandy, this is because we have given gifts to everybody. because the urban areas turned out. that is not why we won. we won because the middle-class believed the president's economic message would be better it for them than governor romney's message. we did a lot of things in the campaign well -- we use technology, had amazing volunteers, and then a lot of
people helped, i want to thank them for that. they are the real heroes of president obama's presidency -- the volunteers working so hard. but the reason we won is those nine brands states, people had to decide who they trusted more with their future. it really did not -- we had a bead on this election pop-up. leading into sandy and out of it, we did not see any change. our research and florida, virginia, colorado -- this election was rigid for a long time. very few undecided voters in play. romney drop in september because he did not have a great convention, because of the 47% -- but he gained all that back pretty quickly after the first debate. very few voters at play. in reality, states like ohio and colorado, 3% or 4% of the
electorate in play in the final weeks. some of them did not bode. -- a vote. those who voted did not vote because of sandy. but the lesson is we could use more of that -- we could use more people of both parties finding opportunities to work together, not concerned about any of the politics or the electoral outcome, but just because it is the right thing for their citizens. >> a brief answer on the question of sandy? >> it is an important point for republicans -- there is a tendency in campaigns to save the outcome was determined by the last thing that half as opposed to the effect at into- year period. -- the thing that happened over a two e period. we can look at our primary, which resemble a reality show. the only thing missing was trapped for the undefeated. [laughter] -- trap doors on the debate
states agreed weaken the fact to be self deportation, the 47%, via the chair. we can look back at the romney coffin unpreparedness to the attack on bain, which he was first attack on in 1994. the three with 18 year dar few feet diffusions, or 18 years at hard you have a chance, that. you can look at the decision we will order money until the end and not to advertising and allowed the obama campaign to have control over the mitt romney biography over the course of the spring and summer. look at the romney campaign chronologically -- up until the moment of the first debate there had not been a decent moment in the campaign since the spring. he entered that first debate literally looking into the abyss. it was not sandy. it was the accumulation of all these things and some of the demographics we talked about earlier. of course, kristi, this is why
it is so pernicious for republicans -- christie -- this is why it's so pernicious. one of the most popular and dynamic republicans in the country. blaming chris christie for this takes up the table one of the solutions to the problem we talked about. chris christie -- we would be much better opposite party if we had in other tan chris christies, people who are unafraid to stand up to interest groups and the party, agent -- dynamic leader who understood the campaign ended the moment that storm hit. one of the toughest partisans in the race, but he raised his hand, took an oath to the people of the state of new jersey and was there with the president of the ad states, doing his job. he ought to be applauded for it, not condemned for it. [applause] it is a huge mistake for republicans to do that. >> we're just passed our time -- i have to close this.
the opportunity four years from now, whenever it is we're back here, to list predictions made and show you both how right you were -- i want you to name three candidates and ask you whether you think it will run in 2016. is chris christie going to run for president in 2016? >> i will say yes. >> i assume yes. i will answer this for republicans, by the way. on democrats i will take the fifth. >> what about joe biden? >> i think -- i am not going to answer democratic questions. obviously we discussed done with the election. >> that is last week. i am sure he will start seeing people of both parties go to iowa and new hampshire and south
carolina. that will start early next year. >> the vice president obviously has a day job. he is a son of delaware, but he has been a great vice president. [applause] in both campaigns it is interesting -- he was overshadowed by at palin and ryan. the bible role he plays is counseling the president on policy matters, -- a valuable role he plays is counseled the president on policy matters, but he was going to ohio, colorado, iowa, delivering an economic message to the middle-class that was deeply effective. >> do you think biden is going to run? >> no. >> finally, hillary clinton? >> yes. >> again, i will --
vice president biden, hillary clinton, these are people with bright political future as it did decide to go down that path. >> i have to be on your time. before we take -- say thank you, allow me to briefly plug the next semester global agenda program. we will explore america's role in the world, the way u.s. influence is felt across the globe in terms of our military, pop culture, technology, innovation, influence on human rights and promotion of democracy and our role as -- what the global agenda website for information about our speakers after the first of the year. if any of you are not already on the e-mail list for kirk -- programs like this, put your name on the sheik in the lobby. let's please thank our panelists. [applause] good night, everyone. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]